Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Our life together so far, in short
2005 - married
2006 - pregnant with Dawson
2007 - had Dawson
2008 - pregnant with Tyler
2009 - had Tyler, then Tyler got diagnosed with Leukemia, inpatient rest of the year
2010 - Tyler in Maintenance, pregnant with Gabriel
2011 - had Gabriel, Tyler relapsed, found out Gabriel is a perfect match, Tyler had transplant, died.
2012 - better be an improvement on the last 3 years, even though we'll be missing our little boy.

I thought I'd do a year in review. Hopefully this won't get too long! The year started out with happy kids and a promise of being done with chemo in June.
 Dawson moved to the top bunk
 Tyler learned new skills
 Tyler turned 2!
 The boys got into things and were happy being normal toddlers, at least as normal as one gets on chemo
 Prepared for Baby Brother! Van with 3 carseats.
 Mom and Gabriel
 Then there were 3 cute little boys
 I love this pic of Dawson, he held Gabriel on his own and was so gentle!
 Happy family of 5
 Brought new baby home
 Guess what, my brother is a perfect match for me!
 Tyler and Gabriel spent a lot of time together. Sleeping with mom in the morning
 Nursing and napping on the couch
 The night before Tyler's biopsy we took a stroll around the lake
 Tyler also broke his leg 2 days before his biopsy
 Love my 3 boys
 Tyler had relapsed, we spent our last night before the hospital in a hotel, where Tyler watched cars out the window
 Inpatient Chemo proved to be a horrible as we'd remembered.
 He even got Psychosis
 He bounced back and spent lots of time with his brothers. Hospital was boring, but nothing beats having family all around
 Plus kisses from Dawson are always awesome
 Dan moved our apartment to a bigger 3 bedroom in May, since our lease was up and we had to move due to our expanding family size. Who knew Tyler would only spend 2 weeks at our new place.
 Cruising the hallways
 Day pass from the hospital! We went to the zoo and had lots of fun. Dawson loved the big turtles.
 Tyler just loved seeing daylight again and being in the fresh air. He was so excited!
 Happy Father's Day!
 Could they possibly be more mean? Staph in the central line meant having IVs on both feet, feeding tube in, oxygen and arm restraints so he didn't pull anything out. Yet he kept smiling. Sometimes.
 Whew, that was over and we were discharged for a bit! We did have to do home IV meds though, but it wasn't that big of a deal since Mom already knew that stuff.
 Got to check out our new apartment and had a package from Pixar waiting for Tyler! He was so excited.
 July 11th, Happy 4th Birthday Dawson!
 Back in the hospital. We boys will stick together and tough this out.
 Even have a new brother to giggle at, he's getting big enough to smile at us now
 Feeling crappy, thank goodness for big brother
 Back at RMH, we love being together where it's more comfy and relaxing!

The real transition came with Transplant. To save space here, you can see all his transplant pics here. Plus Dawson and Gabriel too.
The 2nd Transplant album
In short, transplant went from testing
 To more boring hospital time
 Recieving Gabriel's cord blood cells for Transplant
 Feeling crappy
 Feeling more crappy, had mouth sores
 Intubated in the ICU, just until those mouth sores heal
 He was sedated, but sometimes he would open his eyes, it was rare though
 Spent 6 weeks in a corner looking at this, the back of Tyler's bed and all his equipment. 16 IV pumps, ventilator, dialysis machine, rescue stuff. And of course Gabriel, who spent his days with me too, knowing nothing but hospital life since a few weeks old.
 For the last 6 weeks, this is all we got. No hugs, no holding, no smiles or even sounds. Sometimes even holding his hand, rubbing his head or talking to him would make his stats drop.
Mid October Tyler coded, they saved him but they told us he was probably going to die. We made hand/foot molds, hand/foot print book and signed a DNR notice.
 His blood pressure dropped so low that his limbs and brain were no longer getting much blood. The morning of Nov 2nd they told us he had no more pupil response, which indicates brain activity.
 As planned, we set up for me to hold him and slowly backed him off on his meds that were keeping him alive. I held him for 3 hours. We even unhooked his breathing tube, and he breathed very small breaths on his own for almost 30 minutes.
 Seeing him without tubes, without pain and suffering was a relief, but losing him has been far worse than anything we've suffered through his treatment.
 So now we have 2. Gabriel loves being home and learning what home is all about. Dawson is back in preschool and the Autism Center is coming to our home for most of the day when he's not in school. He has come far with his understanding emotions and coping in the last couple months.
It's hard missing a child. The holidays were especially hard. Getting them in the van and realizing there's only 2 carseats in what seems like a very big empty van. It's amazing how big of a hole a little person can leave. Thank goodness for my 2 adorable boys who keep me going each day.
So now we face 2012 with sadness, but also optimism that it will be a better year. Despite missing Tyler we will grow and heal as a family of 4. Gabriel is getting big and strong. He's crawling and cruising furniture. The boys are bonding together and we are all learning our new normal. It's very weird not having appointments all the time, hospital stays, meds to give, etc. I have many goals for the new year and am trying my best to face it with hope and optimism.